There are many horrific stories in the news about mass shootings, war, racism, environmental disasters and other tragedies. Even if kids aren’t specifically watching or listening to the news, they hear about these stories and can rightfully feel scared and anxious. And it’s important, as adults, that we be open to having discussions with kids about these tragic events. Thankfully, lots of very smart people have been giving tips on how to have these difficult conversations and we’ve listed some of them here to help. We are also including a reading list that may help.
How to Talk With Kids About Tragedies & Other Traumatic News Events from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
In this article, the AAP encourages families to filter information about the event and present it in a way that their child can understand and handle in a healthy way. Tips are broken down by age, while taking into consideration development delays and neurodiversity.
Disaster: Helping Children Cope from The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
For families who have been through a disaster, this article speaks to behavioral changes you may note in your children and links to further resources.
How to Talk to Children About School Shootings from the Stanford Children’s Health
Written after the Uvalde school shooting, this short article speaks directly to children’s fears around this topic, and includes signs that a child may need additional help, as well as how adults can help manage their own anxiety and stress.
How to Talk to Your Kids About School Shootings from Scholastic Parents
We like this article not only because it gives age-appropriate and helpful strategies for having conversations on this very difficult topic with your kids, but also because it brings up the power of “allowing children to be active and involved as a way of alleviating some of their fears.”
How to Help Children Manage Fears from the Child Mind Institute
One of our favorite resources, this Child Mind Institute article is more generally about children’s fears, no matter what they may be, and how to help them learn to manage them.
15 Tips for Talking with Children about Violence from ¡Colorín Colorado!
This bilingual site offers practical steps for talking with young children to teens. It includes admitting that adults don’t have all the answers and also feel sad, but that we are here. While the main site is in English and Spanish, a tip sheet is available in several more languages.
This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at email@example.com with any questions.
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